By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
After a tumultuous semester, just hours before the start of the holiday break, the University of Maryland released a redacted video of former Terrapin Jordan McNair’s fatal football practice. The video paints a picture of negligence by the former training staff.
The videos, first released to Fox 5 News in D.C. through the Maryland Public Information Act, shows how former strength and conditioning coaches were reluctant to get McNair proper medical attention during the early stages of the heat stroke that led to his death. They also appear to confirm that trainers Steve Nordwall and Wes Robinson – who are no longer employed by the university – didn’t contact emergency medical personnel for at least an hour after McNair started showing signs of distress leading to the frustration of campus police on May 29.
In one of the body camera recorded videos a University of Maryland female police officer is reportedly heard saying, “They’re moving so (f—-ing) slow, its (p—-ing) me off,” while waiting for the EMTs to arrive on the scene, according to a report on the TV station’s website.
Other video captures EMTs entering the training facility and officers directing grounds crew members to clear a path for an ambulance. Later, an ambulance is seen on surveillance video responding then leaving the scene with its emergency lights on.
According to the Diamondback, the University’s student newspaper, a surveillance camera facing Stadium Drive and part of the football practice fields shows McNair struggling to complete 10 110-yard sprints known as gassers – during the first team workouts of spring practice. McNair finished his first seven sprints within the allotted time frame but missed the mark on the final three.
Once his teammates finished the 10th sprint, several ran back out of the video frame to assist McNair, who already appears distressed near the finish line with his arms over their shoulders.
Reportedly, part of the reason for the delay was confusion about where the ambulances were supposed to arrive. Trainers allegedly failed to send anyone to meet the first responders who were dispatched to the front of Gossett Team House. Approximately seven minutes later another ambulance – with responders trained in advanced cardiac life support – drove to meet the first ambulance in front of the team house, then pulled away and drove around to the side of the building, which is a floor below the front entrance.
Another surveillance camera portrays a scene of confusion getting McNair to the hospital. The staff reportedly took a gurney from the first ambulance into the Gossett House and brought it to the ground floor, where McNair was loaded on. He was then moved to another gurney before getting loaded into the second ambulance that couldn’t immediately depart and was re-routed through Maryland Stadium for Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park. McNair was ultimately transported to R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he succumbed June 13.
Published reports also say the University heavily redacted the videos because the unreleased footage contains medical information. The McNair’s family attorney reportedly told Fox 5 they would’ve preferred the videos be released without redaction. Maryland officials contend state law prohibits them from releasing the personal medical information of an individual.
However, the timing of the videos being released and absence of availability for comment has created another public relations blemish on the embattled program. Their only formal response has been a statement that reads in part, “Our thoughts remain with Jordan McNair’s family, friends and teammates. Following the completion of the Office of the Attorney General investigation, the footage was provided to Jordan’s family.”